I received this bottle of Merlot from my parents for my birthday back in May but it retails for around $50. I knew it was supposed to be a rockin’ bottle of wine so we held on to it for just a little bit longer. We drank it the other night with some great veggie Stromboli from our local pizza joint Candelas.
A bit of background on the wine – Northstar is located in the Walla Walla region of the Columbia Valley in Washington State and is famous for their ultra-premium Merlot. According to Northstar, 2001 provided a long stable growing season that lead to ideal (warm clear days with cool nights) harvest conditions in September. Ripe grapes were destemmed and crushed, leaving 25% whole berries intact, then inoculated with various strains of yeast including Prise de Mousse and Fermirouge. Individual lots were fermented separately in 2.5-ton fermenters and punched down 2-4 times daily during the 6-day fermentation process. After primary fermentation to dryness, the wine was racked into barrels where it underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine was then aged for 17 months in primarily French and some American oak, using 83% new barrels and 17% one-year-old barrels. The final blend was created from 20 different varietal and vineyards lots. The final blend of the wine was 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and was bottle in June 2003.
My Tasting Notes:
Nose – Plum, black cherry and toasted corn husk
Taste - Blackberry, chocolate and leather
Mouthfeel – Rich, supple and smooth and very full bodied (especially for a Merlot)
Finish – long – over a minute
Wow, what an awesome wine. It is probably the most full bodied Merlot I have ever had. The wine itself was really big but very well balanced and I think it justifies the $50 price tag. Although I got it for free, I don’t think that swayed my opinion at all. Each sip was smooth and rich, and the flavors were all very powerful and the aromas just jumped out of the glass.
If you want a really nice wine for dinner, or are looking to get a nice bottle as a gift for a wine lover, the 2001 Northstar Merlot Columbia Valley fits the bill.